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Reconciling well-being and resilience for sustainable development


Securing well-being and building resilience in response to shocks are often viewed as key goals of sustainable development. Here, we present an overview of the latest published evidence, as well as the consensus of a diverse group of scientists and practitioners drawn from a structured analytical review and deliberative workshop process. We argue that resilience and well-being are related in complex ways, but in their applications in practice they are often assumed to be synergistic. Although theoretically compatible, evidence we present here shows that they may in fact work against each other. This has important implications for policy.

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Fig. 1: Hoping for synergies when aiming for resilience and well-being.

Emma Wood


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This Perspective results from the ESPA Insights into Resilience and Wellbeing: Research Frontiers for Sustainable Development project (NE/P008321/1) funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme. The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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T.C. and K.B. led the writing of the paper, and T.M.D., S.C. and L.S. were part of the core writing team. All authors contributed to conceptualization and editing. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Tomas Chaigneau.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Sustainability thanks Thomas Dietz and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Chaigneau, T., Coulthard, S., Daw, T.M. et al. Reconciling well-being and resilience for sustainable development. Nat Sustain 5, 287–293 (2022).

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